Week 9: More on AI

Unfortunately, if I want to put on my reductionist pants, most things in life are just systems of patterns that algorithms can infiltrate and mimic. As Greenfield (2018) essentially states, machines can learn the same things that humans can learn, such as how to play a game better than any human has in over 2,500 years (Go), how to replicate paintings that were produced by one-of-a-kind artists, how to swing a sword like a samurai, etc. The difference between a machine and a human is pure uncensored emotions. However, a machine does not need to possess emotions to create or do any of the things that humans do. Greenfield touches on this idea that a machine’s ability to exploit a human’s weaknesses is brute force. I would have to agree, but isn’t brute force a humanistic term? Does a machine understand the concepts of exploitation and brute force? No, not currently, but that is not to say that that possibility is off the table until the end of time (AI is evolving…). It is very interesting to think that the very machines that we are afraid of are being created by our own species. The desire for money and profit has completely overshadowed the fact that “we” might be creating instruments that will one day have the ability to take away our livelihoods, provide us with no security, and ultimately place us in metaphorical cages (and possibly actual cages if things get really wild).

On a note away from cyborgs that will one day rule the planet – it might be somewhat hard for me to imagine a world that is completely run by objects that were created using algorithms, AI, and machine learning when the automated voice from my credit card company can not distinguish between my saying a “one” or a “two”…but, I can not predict the future so who knows.

Greenfield, Adam. Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life (Verso, 2018)


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